Contemporary Art Market Report Q1 2019 – Key Insights

This Contemporary Art Market Report by Art Market Trends focuses on the performance of the first quarter of 2019. Over 700,000 data points based on global sales for Post-War and Contemporary art are used to analyse the art market.

Art Market Trends uses innovative quantitative techniques to provide accurate barometers of art market performance. We present new methodologies tailored to the art market as a series of indexes, which makes it easier for the reader to see key facts and trends at a glance while leaving the technical details to the index builders.

For a more comprehensive analysis, we compare the performance of this quarter on the initial quarters of 2014 and 2018 - both were years of growth for the art market. The U.S. Dollar is used as the base currency due to its international appeal to collectors, dealers, and investors.

Key Insights

  1. The average price of artwork edged up slightly by 1% compared with the same period in 2018 but fell by nearly 20% compared with five years ago.
  2. Dollar-denominated buyers have a clear advantage over those denominated in GBP, EUR or CNY during this period.
  3. The Art Market Trends Contemporary Art Dealer Index shows a softening of the market and hence a more challenging environment.
  4. Declining figures across tiers in Q1 2019 compared with the same quarter in 2018 represent a more cautious outlook for the art market in 2019.
  5. Year-on-year dispersion fell for top and mid tier categories but increased for low tier artwork.
  6. Overall, mid tier outperforms low and top tier categories in Art Market Trends Market Segment Analysis.
  7. Christie’s and Phillips share the top spot in Art Market Trends rankings for Best Overall Achieved Price.
  8. The top spot in Art Market Trends rankings for Best Overall Average Price is taken by Sotheby’s.
  9. Phillips has had an outstanding start to the year with total average prices up substantially by 70% from five years ago.
  10. The top three artists of Q1 2019 are Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana and Roy Lichtenstein.